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Pioneer adds ‘grand’ new piano

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Recently, Pioneer’s Music Department purchased a Steinway Grand nine inch piano, but the decision was made a long time ago and had the help of the voters of Ann Arbor.

According to Pioneer Choir Director Steven Lorenz, this whole decision started in 2015 with the voters. “In May of 2015 Ann Arbor voters approved a bond, and the bond was to cover a lot of different things, mostly infrastructure for buildings, new equipment in some areas, new classroom equipment,” he said, “but one parcel of that was for the performing arts programs to provide new instruments, and updated instruments for ones that needed replacement.” And part of that parcel was dedicated specifically to pianos.

After that, the decision was made to buy just one piano instead of multiple ones. They decided, quite literally, to spend all their money in one place. “Departmentally, we decided that rather than trying to have multiple pianos, we thought ‘let us focus on just this one piano and then make sure that what we are having here will be here for decades to come and will be in very strong shape for decades to come,’” said Lorenz.

Next they decided on the piano. According to Lorenz, the department submitted blind reviews of several similar pianos, including the piano that is currently housed in Schreiber Auditorium. In the end, they picked the Steinway Grand for several reasons.

“The Steinway models of pianos carry their intonation better, everything is hand made and hand crafted, and so they are much more reliable as instruments, much less maintenance as instruments, [and] they retain their monetary value much better than other instruments,” said Lorenz

But it appears that this piano might have more benefits than initially thought. According to Steinway’s website, “for over 160 years, Steinway & Sons has been dedicated to making the finest pianos in the world.” In short, Steinway & Sons is a pretty prestigious producer of pianos, and they charge accordingly. According to Sophomore Eden West, who has seriously studied piano for years, the piano that Pioneer bought sells for around $100,000. But pouring that kind of money into the arts program has other benefits than having a really nice piano: it motivates students in the arts.

“I think just the name alone would motivate lots of people since the Steinway brand is so respected,” West said. “In performance, Steinways allow pianists to really express themselves through their playing and allows them to be in their best state/ condition, which would definitely motivate all kinds of musicians.”

But buying this piano has further benefits. It allows more pianos to be circulated through the district.

“The Ann Arbor Public Schools, for a long time, has had the policy of being able to provide an instrument to every student that wants one, so that the inability to purchase one’s instrument is never a barrier to a student being involved in music education in the public schools,” said Lorenz. “Instruments are provided from fifth grade all the way through twelfth grade for any instrument that you need, and so we move them all around the district. And obviously, we’re not moving pianos in the same fashion, but it’s the same sort of guiding principal,” he said.

Pioneer adds ‘grand’ new piano